Education About Asia: Online Archives

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Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Using the Lowy Institute Asia Power Index to Teach Social Science: A Plan for a Facilitated Discussion

The Lowy Institute, one of Australia’s most well-regarded think tanks, released its second annual Asia Power Index in May 2019 (available at https://power.lowyinstitute.org). High school and college educators can use this resource to get students doing hands-on explorations of Asian political, military, economic, and diplomatic power using data. Students can learn about Asia while enhancing their data literacy and critical-thinking skills. This essay provides a plan for an interactive discussi...

Columns, Facts About Asia, Resources

Facts About Asia: South Korea and Singapore: Economic and Political Freedom

Editor’s Introduction: By the 1990s, the dynamic economic growth of four polities—Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan—earned them the nickname “Four Little Dragons.” Each of the “Little Dragons” also obtained moderate to significant levels of political freedom (Freedom House ranks South Korea and Taiwan as free and Hong Kong and Singapore as partly free). Please see our column from fall 2019 on the other two “Little Dragons”: Hong Kong and Taiwan. Economic ...

Feature Article

Asia, Power, and Robes of Honor

More than three decades ago, my wife and I ventured overland from Istanbul to Delhi. At Herat, on the western border of Afghanistan, my wife met a group of women—a matriarch, her daughters, and daughters-in-law. Although they shared no common language, my wife accompanied them over several days while they bought and sold in the markets. The matriarch liked my wife and on the day we left insisted that she accept her old, black, beautiful, fully embroidered cloak. The women showed her how to dra...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

Teaching China Through the Lens of Girls’ and Women’s Lives

Illiterate paternal grandparents raised Jin Shan, a teenage girl living in rural China. Her parents, unable to afford milk for their child, had no choice but to become migrant workers when Shan was seven months old. Shan remained behind with her grandparents, who farmed in the town of Xixiashu in Jiangsu Province, and did not live with her parents again until the age of ten. Shan’s experience was not unusual. In fact, it was anything but rare. Her story places her among millions of “left-beh...

Columns, Resources

Facts About Asia: Taiwan and Hong Kong: Economic and Political Freedom

Despite their modest sizes, Taiwan and Hong Kong both possess very strong economies, ranking 20th  and 30th in GDP (the market value of all goods and services) in a ranking of the top fifty world leaders. Taiwan has massive information and communication technology industries, as well as acting as a major international supplier of goods, while Hong Kong’s four key industries are in financial services, tourism, trading and logistics, and professional and producer services. Since 1996, the Frase...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Key Issues in Asian Studies: “Indonesia: History, Heritage, Culture”

With her contribution to the Key Issues in Asian Studies series—INDONESIA: History, Heritage, Culture— Kathleen M. Adams has maintained and even enhanced its well-established reputation for quality. Writing a brief yet comprehensive book is challenging because specialists must restrain themselves from delving too far into their area of expertise. Instead of presenting an in-depth look at the specific, they must focus on engaging intelligent but uninformed readers so they can grasp the basics...

Resources, Teaching Resources Essay

EngageAsia: An Entrepreneurial Approach to Creating Transnational Communities

EngageAsia (www.engageasia.org), a New York-based 501(c)(3) non- profit with the mission of building community in the Asia–Pacific through education, was born out of a need for a new organization with Asia-focused teacher professional development at its core, through intensive discussions between its cofounders and inaugural board, and on culling best practices from years of working with US–Japan teacher professional development programs. Most importantly, the creation of this new organizati...

Online Supplement, Teaching Resources Essay

China in Africa: Essential Questions and Teaching Resource Suggestions

Editor’s note: Please see the recommended resources for links to all websites mentioned in this essay. Around the world, nations in desperate need of infrastructure are finding a willing partner in China, whose Belt and Road Initiative offers the potential for transformative benefits. For sub-Saharan African countries, the construction of a cross-continental road/rail from Dakar to Djibouti promises economic development, as goods, services, and people find reliable transportation to markets...

Teaching Resources Essay

The Small Islands Debate: Exploring Critical Controversies in Maritime East Asia

Considering Asia’s Maritime Controversies: Why Are Asia’s Maritime Disputes Important? Tensions among East Asian countries have significantly increased during the twenty-first century because of maritime disputes in the South China Sea, the East China Sea, and the Sea of Japan. Many serious conflicts about sovereignty over small islands and seabeds exist among China, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan, along with Việt Nam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei. Governments have acted assert...

Feature Article

Will China Lead the World by Land and Sea? The Belt and Road Initiative

To know about Asia, we must be prepared for the question of world leadership by the People’s Republic of China. President Xi Jinping has been identified as the world’s most powerful man, and the US and Chinese economies have the world’s largest GDPs.1 China is first in world shipbuilding, and troubling military questions about the ability of China to challenge the United States Navy in the Pacific Ocean are present. In several business, industrial, communications,scientific, technical, com...

Teaching Resources Essay

Public Opinion Polls as a Tool for Understanding Millennials’ Views on Asia

Like many countries around the world, Canada is becoming more at­tentive to its economic and diplomatic relationship with countries in Asia. This is especially the case with China, now Canada’s sec­ond-largest trading partner (behind only the United States). Public opin­ion is an important, though not always well-understood, facet of these relationships. Since 2004, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) has conducted regular national opinion polls to gauge Canadians’ views on...

Feature Article

Leaving North Korea: My Story

Editor’s note: What follows is a lightly edited version of a North Korean defector’s true story, which was originally a presentation at the AAS Committee on Teaching about Asia workshop for educators at George Washington University in March 2018. The author requested that her name not be published. I am a North Korean defector currently working as a research intern at the Committee for Human Rights in North Korea, located in Washington, DC. Before I begin talking about my personal sto...

Film Review Essay

Maineland: Directed by Miao Wang. Reviewed by Carol Stepanchuk

Directed by Miao Wang Produced by Miao Wang, Violet Feng, Robert M. Chang, and Damon Smith 90 minutes, Color Three Waters Productions, 2017 “An eye-opening cultural commentary” —Huffington Post Reviewed by Carol Stepanchuk Stella (Xinyi) Zhu instantly engages with the camera: “Today is a very special day for me—I’m so happy to receive an offer from Fryeburg Academy—it’s my ideal school, my dream come true. . . I won’t let you down!” Harry (Junru) He also rece...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

By Graham Allison Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017 384 pages, ISBN: 978-0544935273, Hardcover Reviewed by John F. Copper Most readers will likely find Graham Allison’s newest book, Destined for War, interesting and fresh. Many will agree with this reviewer that it is a work that may entitle Allison to join the ranks of Francis Fukuyama (The End of History) and Samuel Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations), who offer powerful templates, if not plausible theories, to help explain c...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Everything Under the Heavens: How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power

How the Past Helps Shape China’s Push for Global Power By Howard W. French New York: Vintage, 2018 (reprint) 352 pages, ISBN: 978-0804172455, Paperback Reviewed by Robert W. Foster For the past several years, I have traveled in China at the end of September as the country ramps up for National Day on October 1. In the cities, one cannot avoid Xi Jinping’s China Dream campaign, with various attractive posters urging “Chinese spirit, Chinese culture, Chinese forms, Chinese exp...

Feature Article

The Rise of China and Its Geopolitical Implications

In 1993, Nicholas Kristof published an influential article entitled "The Rise of China" in Foreign Affairs magazine (see quotation on right). The article attracted immediate attention, as it was the first discussion of the phenomenon in a widely circulated publication. A quarter of a century later, the article remains relevant, as many of the issues continue to be important—the economic growth of China, the spread of Chinese influence in the world, and the development of geopolitical tensions ...

Feature Article

North Korea’s Nuclear Challenge

North Korea, officially Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a family dynasty. The current leader, Kim Jong-un, who succeeded his father, Kim Jong-il, in 2011, is only the third leader of the country since its founding in 1948 by Kim Il-sung. The division of the Korean peninsula into two separate countries in 1948 was perpetuated by the 1950–1953 Korean War. The two Koreas took different paths, and today, South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is one of the most dyn...

Feature Article

A New North Korean Paradigm

US policy toward North Korea has undergone a seismic shift in the wake of the 2017 US presidential inauguration, from “strategic patience” to “strategic accountability.” The world has also borne witness to a darker side of that policy shift, characterized by an escalating war of words between the United States and North Korea, or more specifically between its two leaders. Bluster-filled news headlines (and Twitter feeds) with a tenor reminiscent of Cold War-era histrionics have become th...

Feature Article

What Honors High School and Undergraduate Survey Instructors Should Know about North Korea’s Nuclear Threat

In October 2006, North Korea, or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), as it is officially known, detonated a small nuclear device. By the end of 2017, it had conducted four more nuclear weapons tests; the last on September 3, 2017, perhaps a hydrogen bomb, was capable of destroying a major city. It is the only country to have tested nuclear weapons in the twenty-first century. P’yŏngyang is also developing a missile delivery system that will be able to reach any part of the Uni...

Book Review Essay, Resources

Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World

By Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, and Ali Wyne Foreword by Henry A. Kissinger Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013 224 pages, ISBN: 978-0262019125, Hardcover Reviewed by David Kenley Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World, by Graham Allison, Robert D. Blackwill, and Ali Wyne, provides a fascinating introduction to the thoughts and attitudes of one of the twentieth century’s most complex political leaders. Lee was the first prime minister of inde...

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